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post #11 of 42 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Bleach will kill things, but rarely cleans them off the interior of the water system. The dead stuff just becomes food for the next batch to feed on and accelerates their growth. Also, you may have only killed the surface stuff and the live stuff beneath it took a short while to eat it's way back to the top.

Once the system is actually clean, not just killed, the slight chlorine dosing is essentially what many municipalities do. It fits in that "X dose is considered safe" kind of standard. Like when you can only eat the fish out of a polluted river once per month. I'll pass on consuming anything I can't eat or drink all I want. The good news is that chlorine is very easily removed, with a carbon filter, before you consume it. The only remaining downside is that it's corrosive to metal over time.

From the sounds of it, I'm betting you'll want to replace the hoses. The tank really should be able to be cleaned. A brand new old fashioned wire toilet brush is a good device. You can bend them to reach places. On the other hand, a new poly tank is a nice thing, if you have the money. They aren't too expensive, if it is a standard that one of the larger shops already have the plans to make. Even custom isn't outrageous, IMO. I had a new custom 77 gallon poly holding tank made several years ago and am very happy with it. I don't recall the exact cost, only the lack of feeling abused. That's how I store all boat maintenance episodes in my mind, by pain level.
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

I add bleach to my tanks if they have sat around awhile, just a capful to each 50-gal tank. I have carbon filter at the sink to remove the bleach for drinking water.
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Theres two ways to fix most boat problems:

The expensive, labor consuming, difficult "correct" way.

or

the Cheap, Efficient, Mark's Way.


Bung in the cuplett (1oz, 30 mils) of bleach and see what happens before you go shell out beer money and wasting drinking time.


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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post

the Cheap, Efficient, Mark's Way.


Bung in the cuplett (1oz, 30 mils) of bleach and see what happens before you go shell out beer money and wasting drinking time.


I fully agree with the point. Donít overdo it or over think it, unless proven necessary. However, I thought the OP told us he already tried this approach and it only worked for a couple of months.


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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I fully agree with the point. Donít overdo it or over think it, unless proven necessary. However, I thought the OP told us he already tried this approach and it only worked for a couple of months.
The way I read the post is he did it once as a 'bleach bomb', emptied the water out and put in fresh water without any bleach whatsoever.

I am saying to use 1 shot glass of bleach for every 50 gallons/200 litres EVERY time you add water. Each and every time.

I would think his method killed the mould in the tank but not all the mould, maybe up from dark and unused pipe...

What Unused pipe? On my boat the stern deck shower... but maybe the hot water system. Did he fill the hot water system with bleached water and then let it sit and then run that out through the shower pipes? Well thats not good enough as the bleach will have lost its effect after 'sitting' so those pipes can still have grunge in them.

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

On the other hand, 100' of PEX pipe at Home Depot only costs $28. Super easy to run and install. Another $50 for quick connect fittings. Call it $100 total for pipe, fittings, and spares, and there's a new plumbing system.

Old vinyl hose is almost always manky, and no amount of cleaning or bleaching is going to cure it. I just pulled out a 10' fresh water flush line to our watermaker. 5' of it was PEX coupled to 5' of vinyl hose (not my install, don't understand why). The vinyl hose was dark, opaque, and completely sheeted with algae, while the PEX was clean as a whistle.

I've found PEX to pretty much end growth in water lines, although if your water tank is constantly contaminated, then PEX will probably eventually get growth also.

Mark
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

If you have access to shore water.
Heavily dose tanks. Let sit after running a bit throughout your entire system. Every faucet, shower head, hot water heater if possible. Then drain completely using every outlet for water again. Repeat flush until you don’t taste chlorine. The heavy chlorine should kill everything. The flush should wash out most of the dead itty bitties.
I do this before laying up boat and then drain tanks dry. Unfortunately even when you drain them dry there maybe a bit of water in them. So use RV “100” antifreeze even if it doesn’t freeze in your area. At that high concentration it is cidal. Put in enough so it runs through ever hose/outlet. If you don’t pickle your watermaker with chemicals put 100 antifreeze through it as well. Make sure that’s adequate pickle. I use chemicals so not that familiar.
Before launch another good flush then fill will give you sweet water.
We have a watermaker. We have RO water only going to one tank and either RO water or shore water going to the other tank. It seems nothing grows in the RO tank and it stays sweet. We do this to prevent chlorine getting to the membrane even though I have a carbon filter in line to protect it. Have a whole boat fresh water filter just after the pressure water pump as well. Make sure it’s big as that will help decrease pressure drop across it. Don’t know if it does anything as it remains white.
Watermakers are game changers. Only need to come in for food and much less frequently for fuel. Get to take a daily shower. But it does change your anchoring decisions. Ideally hang out places where water is clean of contamination. Find sediment means at lot of filter changes in New England and absence of meaningful tides with many boats nearby is an issue in Caribbean. Fortunately have ~200g so just wait for a good spot or make water while sailing if conditions permit.

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

As an ex water treatment i feel people go waaaaaaaaaay overboard on the amount of bleach they use. A drinking water standard level would be 1ppm of free chlorine for 1 hour. That will kill anything and is only normally like a 1 tablespoon/capfull of standard bleach*. Even a massive shock treatment for something like Legionella is only 10 ppm. Yet people will add a cup of bleach.


* normally because there are too many unknowns in what bleach strength and chlorine demand is to make a true calulation.
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Our previous boat had aluminum tanks, so we didn't like chlorine in them, and never treated them in any way. Because we had to replace the tank early on, we know we started with a clean tank. For 14yrs we not only did not treat them, but also used a carbon block filter when filling them, and filled them at a slow rate so the filter could actually work in removing chlorine. When the boat was laid up, the tanks were emptied. Most of the water put in the tanks was RO and filtered rain, but we did take on water throughout the US, Bahamas, E. Caribe, South and Central America, and places between whenever the opportunity presented itself.

There was never any growth in the tank or plumbing (PEX).

Our current boat has a fiberglass tank, but we still don't treat it, and still fill through a carbon block filter. I don't know how the tank has been treated over the previous 14yrs, and haven't opened the tank yet. Before adding a carbon house filter, the water tasted a bit stale, but otherwise fine. The boat had sat for a year in the Caribe with an empty tank. There is no growth in any of the plumbing (PEX).

So maybe you are correct about fearful treatment of tanks. If the tank and plumbing starts clean, it seems pretty easy to keep it that way - particularly if the boat is being actively used. I'm beginning to think that vinyl hoses are the contamination reservoir that keeps reinfecting tanks. Our previous, previous boat had a very simple and short plumbing system with vinyl hoses, basically a 15' run to a galley faucet and another 15' run to a bathroom faucet, but I was always fighting algae and grossness on that one.

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

We have standard hose. Tanks are integral to the hull so grp with internal potable water coatings.Access plates stainless. Been 7 years now. Tanks still fresh. Think the RO and active, frequent turn over probably has much to do with it. Hoses remain clean and clear. We donít use chlorine except for the shock treatment described above when boat hauled for new bottom paint/zincs or occasional storage. Otherwise no chlorine.

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